State to give out $13 million for fisheries projects

Boat owners, crew members eligible for financial assistance

Posted: Friday, May 23, 2003

Got fisheries development ideas? About $13 million in grants is up for grabs, and the state is accepting applications.

The grant program will award one-time funding for new fisheries-related infrastructure projects or for the expansion or improvement of existing projects. Another program will distribute an additional $5 million to individual fishermen who have fallen on tough times with the decline of the industry.

The funding is part of a $50 million salmon fishery revitalization plan announced last month by Gov. Frank Murkowski.

Eligible development projects would have potential to improve seafood quality, product diversity and value, harvesting and processing profitability. Projects that increase industry efficiency and local economies also will be considered.

Some examples are equipment and facilities for freezing and chilling, as well as transportation infrastructure improvement and development. Ketchikan wants to obtain a cold storage facility for fish, and Dillingham may seek money to build a dock.

Individual boat owners or crew members who fished during the 2002 season and who meet maximum income requirements for federal tax year 2002 will be eligible for assistance. The maximum income limit ranges from $11,080 for a fisherman with one dependent to $38,030 for a person with eight dependents.

Lynn Bartlett, special assistant to the commissioner of labor and workforce development, said the amount of each grant will depend on the number of qualified applicants. The deadline for applications is June 7, and the state hopes to have checks mailed out by July.

The deadline for development grant applications is June 2. Glenn Haight, a fisheries development specialist with the Department of Consumer and Economic Development, said the agency has not received any applications yet.

An evaluation committee made up of state employees from the state labor, fish and game and economic development agencies will make funding recommendations, and the administration will have the final say, Haight said.

Web links

Grant applications and nstructions are available at

• www.dced.state.ak.us/cbd/seafood/revitalization/projects2.htm

• www.dced.state.ak.us/cbd/seafood/revitalization/directaid2.htm

The evaluation committee will look at several different factors.

"(We'll look at) the applicant ... can they pull off this project? Then we'll look at the need in the community," Haight said.

The committee also will consider budget and applicants' plans to put projects into effect.

All applicants will have to meet minimum match requirements. Nonprofit organizations will be required to put up 25 percent of the requested grant and for-profit entities will be required to contribute a 50 percent match.

Haight said the state hopes to let applicants know of their status by June 13.

"We'll try to have grant agreements in place by the end of June," he said.

Grants are cost-reimbursible, meaning a recipient must spend the money first, then seek reimbursement.



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